The 9 Dirtiest Things In Your Bathroom
Most people think of their bathroom as a place they go to get clean, right? Well, maybe not. Even if you clean your bathroom regularly, chances are you’re probably forgetting about the dirtiest things in your bathroom. With the help of science, let’s examine a few ways you might accidentally be making your bathroom even dirtier:
1) The Surfaces Around Your Toilet
Did you know that every time you flush, you’re spraying aerosolized particles of toilet water around your bathroom?
According to an article from the Harvard University Gazette, any object or surface within six feet of your toilet is in danger, including your toothbrush! Putting the lid to your toilet down before you flush can keep your toilet water from going airborne.
2) Toothbrush Covers
You may think putting a cover on your toothbrush may keep your toothbrush safe from bathroom germs, but think again. The human mouth is one of the most germ-ridden places in the human body, making your toothbrush a bastion for over 1,000+ types of bacteria. The American Dental Association reports that leaving your toothbrush inside of a closed container is a more conducive moist environment for these bacteria to breed than the open air.
The ADA recommends that people replace their toothbrushes every 3-4 months or sooner, but here are a few tips to extend the life of your toothbrush. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush well and shake as much excess water out of the bristles that you can. If someone in your household is sick, don’t let your toothbrush come into contact with theirs. Instead, leave your toothbrushes to soak in mouthwash or a diluted bleach solution overnight to kill any sneaky germs.
3) Your Towel
Perhaps you’re trying to be environmentally conservative, or maybe you just hate laundry, but think again before you reuse your towel. Damp towels make for an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, and reusing them can put germs right back onto your body.
If you have any kind of wound, you could be infecting yourself with whatever is on the towel.” says Dr. Elizabeth Scott, codirector of the Simmons College for Hygiene and Health. She recommends washing your towel at least once a week. Using a towel warmer in your bathroom can also help dry your towel faster and minimize any moisture needed for bacteria to grow. Remember to throw your bathmats in the wash periodically, too!
4) Your Loofah
Don’t go getting too attached to your loofah. Not only do they retain a lot of water, but they also provide bacteria with plenty of grease, sweat, and dead skin cells to feed on. One study found that infection-causing bacteria like P. aeruginosa grew exponentially after 24 hours of exposure to a loofah.
Natural loofahs (made from dried sea sponge or cucumber species) should be tossed after 3-4 weeks,” suggests dermatologist Dr. Birgit Toome. Synthetic mesh puffs are more resistant to bacteria, but doctors agree they should be replaced after eight weeks.
5) Your Hands
Everyone knows hand washing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of infectious disease. The problem is, most people don’t wash their hands long enough to kill most germs. A study from Michigan State University observed that 95% of people spent less than 15 seconds washing their hands. However, the CDC says you should spend at least 20 seconds on scrubbing alone.
While it might seem excessive, take your time working up a good lather. It sure beats catching the flu!
6) Using Your Toilet Incorrectly
If you squat or hover over toilet seats, you’re part of the problem. Studies show hovering places an unnecessary strain on your thigh and abdominal muscles which makes you rush and bear down on your bladder to urinate. Not only can this frequent strain cause pelvic organ prolapse in the longterm, but the additional pressure tends to make a bigger mess.
Instead, use toilet seat covers, or, if none are available, cover the toilet seat with toilet paper and remember to clean up after yourself. Staying seated for the entire performance can help keep your bathroom cleaner and keep your bladder healthier.
7) Your Shower Liner
For most of us, replacing our shower liner at all is task enough. What you may not know is that the area where your shower liner hits the tub and helps sandwich water between the folds, creating a safe haven for mold and mildew.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution: trim a few inches from the bottom and the sides so your shower liner fits your tub perfectly without bunching. You can also find mold resistant shower liners in most home goods stores. While they aren’t completely mold-proof, but they make it harder for mold to take hold.
8) Your Sponge
Chances are, you probably use the same sponge to clean the shower, mirrors, sink, and toilet, which means you may actually be smearing your toilet germs all over your bathroom. You can prevent cross-contamination by designating separate sponges for each surface and keeping them separate by using a mail sorter.
If you don’t have the storage space, remember to clean from high to low, starting with the cleanest surfaces and working your way down. When you finish scrubbing, give your sponge a good rinse and stick it in the microwave or dishwasher. The USDA found microwaving sponges kills 99.999% of bacteria, where as putting it in a dishwasher with a heated drying cycle kills 99.998% of bacteria in your sponge.
9) The Bathroom Floor
Your toilet seat is the dirtiest place in your bathroom, right? Wrong. According to a recent study, your bathroom floor harbors 2 million bacteria per square inch, making it the grossest surface in your bathroom. That’s about 200 times dirtier than a sanitary surface. Moral of the story: don’t forget to scrub your bathroom floor frequently (or invest in a pair of shower shoes.)
With so many other contenders, it’s easy to forget what the dirtiest things in your bathroom are. Luckily, knowing is half the battle. These few very simple changes can help stop mold and germs in their tracks!